Seventh Heaven For Van Gerwen
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN won his seventh ProTour event of 2012 in stunning fashion with a 6-5 defeat of Phil Taylor in Sunday's final Players Championship of the year at the Barnsley Metrodome.
Dutch star van Gerwen's amazing run of success this autumn culminated with what he admitted was his most special of seven victories in the PDC's non-televised ProTour events.
The triumph was his first over Taylor in a final and also follows last week's victory over the world number one in the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts, with the Stoke star playing his part in a brilliant final in Barnsley.
Van Gerwen showed great form throughout the day, with his early 6-4 wins over Gareth Pass and Shaun Griffiths followed by him averaging over 105 in successive defeats of Wayne Jones, Mervyn King and Connie Finnan as he reached the semi-finals.
There, he overcame World Champion Adrian Lewis 6-2 before edging out Taylor in the decider.
Van Gerwen won the final's opening leg with a 76 finish before Taylor hit scores of 174 and 180 in an 11-darter to level the contest before the 23-year-old won the next three in style.
He hit a 13-darter before breaking throw for the first time in 12 darts, scoring 177, 140 and 168 before landing double eight, and then finishing 91 on the bull - with Taylor waiting on 40 - to lead 4-1.
Taylor responded in fine style to level, hitting a 14-darter of his own and a 92 finish to break in 12 darts before taking out a 121 checkout in leg eight to square the game with another 12-darter after both players opened with a 180.
Taylor's surge continued as he finished 90 on the bull to break again and lead 5-4, only for van Gerwen to take out 164 with two treble 19s and the bullseye to force a deciding leg.
Taylor scored 140 and 177 as he was first to a finish, but he missed the bull to take out 88 and van Gerwen stepped in with a 124 checkout on double 11 to claim the title.
Van Gerwen ended the final with a 108.820 average to Taylor's 109.90, and the £6,000 prize money sees him move up to a career-high seventh in the PDC Order of Merit and into the opposite half of the draw to Taylor for next month's Ladbrokes World Championship.
"It was a fantastic game and we both played well," said van Gerwen. "Phil did some great finishing but at the end I hit two amazing big finishes and I'm very happy with that.
"It's the first time for me where I've won a ProTour and beaten Phil in the tournament, so it gives me so much confidence. To beat Phil in the final and the World Champion [Adrian Lewis] in the semi-final means a lot to me - it's the most special win of the year.
"I've played very well today and most of my games were above a 100 average, so I'm still playing my best and we'll see what happens next week in the Players Championship Finals."
Van Gerwen added: "It's a big achievement to be number seven in the world now. That was my target for this weekend and I did it, so I'm very happy with that.
"Everybody's playing so well and there are so many good dart players, so if you're part of the top eight it feels amazing."
The result meant that Taylor finished both of the weekend's events as runner-up, following Saturday's defeat in the final to Dave Chisnall, although he still took home £6,000 in prize money from the weekend.
Taylor's run to the decider included a second successive semi-final win over Robert Thornton, as a 14-darter in the deciding leg saw him defeat the Scot 6-5 after trailing 4-2 at one stage.
Taylor also overcame long-standing rival Dennis Priestley 6-2 in the quarter-finals and defeated Andy Hamilton, Mareno Michels, Mark Jones and Nigel Heydon on the day.
UK Open champion Thornton continued his brilliant run of form by reaching the semis, whitewashing Nick Fullwell early on, hitting a 113 average against Darren Webster and then defeating both Mark Webster and John Part 6-1.
World Champion Lewis was the other semi-finalist in his best run on the circuit since he won September's German Darts Masters event, with the world number two overcoming a first round scare - hitting back from 4-0 down to defeat Jim Walker - to go on and see off Alan Tabern, Michael Smith, Scott Rand and Peter Wright.
Priestley, the 62-year-old two-time World Champion, reached his second quarter-final of the weekend as he secured qualification for next month's World Championship through the ProTour Order of Merit, and he was joined in the last eight by Part, Wright and Ireland's Connie Finnan.
Finnan also hit a brilliant nine-dart finish on the day, scooping a £4,800 bonus for the achievement during his fourth round win over Wes Newton, with Steve Brown having missed double 12 for a perfect leg of his own earlier in the event.
The tournament was the 20th and final Players Championship of the year, meaning that the leading 32 players from the final ProTour Order of Merit - headed by Dave Chisnall - will now qualify to compete next weekend in the Cash Converters Players Championship Finals event, live on ITV4 from the Butlins Minehead Resort.
The field for the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship will also be confirmed on Monday, with the top 32 from the main PDC Order of Merit joined by 16 ProTour Order of Merit Qualifiers and a series of other international qualifiers - plus the winner and runner-up from Monday's last-chance PDPA Qualifier in Barnsley.
Players Championship 20
Sunday November 25, Barnsley Metrodome
Dave Chisnall (1) Bye
Arron Monk 6-4 Dennis Smith
Dean Winstanley (32) 6-1 Jamie Lewis
Steve Farmer 6-4 Tony Littleton
John Part 6-1 Paul Nicholson (16)
Andy Jenkins 6-4 Michael Barnard
Andy Smith (17) 6-3 Steve Grubb
Jerry Hendriks 6-2 Steven Pearson
Kim Huybrechts (8) 6-0 Barrie Bates
Bernd Roith 6-5 Stephen Hardy
Mark Webster (25) 6-2 Ian Jopling
Joey Palfreyman 6-4 Jamie Atkins
Robert Thornton (9) 6-4 Adam Smith-Neale
Nick Fullwell 6-0 John Scott
Gary Anderson (24) 6-2 Mark Hylton
Darren Webster 6-1 Geoff Whitworth
Phil Taylor (5) 6-2 Mareno Michels
Mark Jones 6-5 Matthew Edgar
Nigel Heydon 6-5 Kevin Painter (28)
Nigel Birch 6-5 Sam Hill
Andy Hamilton (12) 6-4 John Henderson
Alex Roy 6-5 Tony West
Mark Walsh (21) 6-3 Keith Stephen
Mark Frost 6-2 Mark Forman
Brian Woods 6-5 Justin Pipe (4)
Magnus Caris 6-5 Michael Mansell
Jamie Caven (29) 6-3 Roland Scholten
Adam Hunt 6-1 Mark Lawrence
Peter Hudson 6-5 Ronnie Baxter (13)
Dennis Priestley 6-5 Matt Clark
Richie Burnett (20) 6-2 Steve Hine
Matt Padgett 6-5 Mike Veitch
Simon Whitlock (2) 6-3 Stuart Kellett
Steve Brown 6-4 Les Wallace
John Bowles 6-4 James Hubbard (31)
Andrew Cornwall 6-4 Dave Ladley
Peter Wright (15) 6-1 Kevin McDine
Dyson Parody 6-1 Steve Maish
Brendan Dolan (18) 6-2 William O'Connor
Mark Stephenson 6-2 Craig Pope
Ian White (7) 6-1 Joe Cullen
Scott Rand 6-5 Richie Howson
Steve Beaton (26) 6-5 Mick Todd
Ian Moss 6-3 Chris Aubrey
Adrian Lewis (10) 6-4 Jim Walker
Alan Tabern 6-2 Denis Ovens
Michael Smith (23) 6-2 Prakash Jiwa
Toon Greebe 6-5 Martin Perring
Wes Newton (6) 6-1 Terry Temple
Chris Thompson 6-4 Andrew Gilding
Colin Osborne (27) 6-5 Darren Whittingham
Kevin Dowling 6-3 Martyn Turner
Connie Finnan 6-1 Terry Jenkins (11)
Reece Robinson 6-3 Liam Kelly
Vincent van der Voort (22) 6-4 James Richardson
Scott Coleman 6-2 Darrell Claydon
Michael van Gerwen (3) 6-4 Gareth Pass
Shaun Griffiths 6-3 Gaz Cousins
Wayne Jones (3) 6-0 Paul Rowley
Daniel Day 6-4 Stuart White
Colin Lloyd (14) 6-2 Ross Smith
Johnny Haines 6-0 Adrian Gray
Mervyn King (19) 6-0 Joe Murnan
Darren Johnson 6-0 Paul Sawyer
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Arron Monk
Dean Winstanley 6-3 Steve Farmer
John Part 6-1 Andy Jenkins
Andy Smith 6-1 Jerry Hendriks
Kim Huybrechts 6-0 Bernd Roith
Mark Webster 6-3 Joey Palfreyman
Robert Thornton 6-0 Nick Fullwell
Darren Webster 6-4 Gary Anderson
Phil Taylor 6-3 Mark Jones
Nigel Heydon 6-3 Nigel Birch
Andy Hamilton 6-4 Alex Roy
Mark Walsh 6-0 Mark Frost
Brian Woods 6-0 Magnus Caris
Jamie Caven 6-2 Adam Hunt
Dennis Priestley 6-5 Peter Hudson
Matt Padgett 6-5 Richie Burnett
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Steve Brown
Andrew Cornwall 6-3 John Bowles
Peter Wright 6-4 Dyson Parody
Brendan Dolan 6-4 Mark Stephenson
Scott Rand 6-4 Ian White
Steve Beaton 6-5 Ian Moss
Adrian Lewis 6-4 Alan Tabern
Michael Smith 6-2 Toon Greebe
Wes Newton 6-0 Chris Thompson
Kevin Dowling 6-4 Colin Osborne
Connie Finnan 6-0 Reece Robinson
Vincent van der Voort 6-4 Scott Coleman
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Shaun Griffiths
Wayne Jones 6-5 Daniel Day
Johnny Haines 6-3 Colin Lloyd
Mervyn King 6-1 Darren Johnson
Dave Chisnall 6-1 Dean Winstanley
John Part 6-5 Andy Smith
Mark Webster 6-1 Kim Huybrechts
Robert Thornton 6-3 Darren Webster
Phil Taylor 6-0 Nigel Heydon
Andy Hamilton 6-3 Mark Walsh
Jamie Caven 6-3 Brian Woods
Dennis Priestley 6-1 Matt Padgett
Simon Whitlock 6-1 Andrew Cornwall
Peter Wright 6-3 Brendan Dolan
Scott Rand 6-5 Steve Beaton
Adrian Lewis 6-4 Michael Smith
Wes Newton 6-3 Kevin Dowling
Connie Finnan 6-3 Vincent van der Voort
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Wayne Jones
Mervyn King 6-1 Johnny Haines
John Part 6-2 Dave Chisnall
Robert Thornton 6-1 Mark Webster
Phil Taylor 6-2 Andy Hamilton
Dennis Priestley 6-4 Jamie Caven
Peter Wright 6-2 Simon Whitlock
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Scott Rand
Connie Finnan 6-3 Wes Newton - Connie Finnan hits nine-dart finish
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Mervyn King
Robert Thornton 6-1 John Part
Phil Taylor 6-2 Dennis Priestley
Adrian Lewis 6-5 Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Connie Finnan
Phil Taylor 6-5 Robert Thornton
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Adrian Lewis
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Phil Taylor
Final - Leg-By-Leg
Phil Taylor v Michael van Gerwen
0-0 - Michael van Gerwen wins the bull and throws first
0-1 - van Gerwen takes the opening leg by finishing 76 on tops.
1-1 - Taylor scores 174 and 180 to leave 50 after nine darts, and after van Gerwen posts a 171 the Stoke ace finishes double 16 for an 11-darter.
1-2 - van Gerwen opens with 140 and 145 and finishes double 16 for a 13-dart finish.
1-3 - van Gerwen breaks with a brilliant 12-darter, scoring 177, 140 and 168 to leave 16 after nine darts, before hitting double eight at the third attempt.
1-4 - Taylor leaves 40 but can only watch on as van Gerwen finishes 91 on the bull to lead 4-1.
2-4 - Taylor hits back by finishing double 16 for a fine 14-darter, with both players averaging over 110 in a high-quality contest.
3-4 - Taylor breaks back with a superb 12-darter, finishing 92 on double 16 with van Gerwen having left 40.
4-4 - Both players open with 180s and van Gerwen scores 139 and 134 to leave 48 after nine darts, but Taylor brilliantly finishes 121 on double 14 to level.
5-4 - van Gerwen is unable to take out 114 and Taylor finishes 90 on the bull to break and lead for the first time.
5-5 - van Gerwen brilliantly finishes 164 with two treble 19s and the bullseye to force a deciding leg.
5-6 - Taylor hits a 177 but misses the bull for an 88 finish for a 12-darter, and van Gerwen powers home a 124 finish on double 11 for his first victory over Taylor in a final and his seventh ProTour win of the year.
|Phil Taylor||5-6||Michael van Gerwen|
|2||Breaks of Throw||2|